USF women cruise at home over MN-Crookston

SIOUX FALLS – With a second straight shutdown defensive effort matched by an efficient and effective offense, the University of Sioux Falls Women's Basketball Team (15-7, 10-6 NSIC) rolled to an 80-47 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference cross-divisional decision over Minnesota Crookston (10-12, 5-11 NSIC) on Saturday at the Stewart Center.

The Cougars, which have won 4-of-5 games and improved to 9-2 at home, took over sole possession of third place in the NSIC South. In two games, USF outscored opponents 175-to-92 and allowed just 47 points to both Bemidji State and UMC in back-to-back games at the Stewart Center.

"I am really proud of the effort this team put into this weekend when we played brilliantly," said USF Head Coach Travis Traphagen, who now has 209 career wins at USF. "I thought our defense was the difference but that can be related to an attacking mentality and movement on both offense and defense."

Leading the way for USF was junior Kaely Hummel with 17 points three assists and two steals. Hummel, who became the 19th USF women's player to surpass 1,000 points in her career, played just 23 minutes but hit 7-of-9 field goals, including 1-of-3 from three-point range. Hummel, who now has 57 career double-digit scoring games, moved to 1,034 points in her career. In total, USF had four players in double-digits against UMC, including junior Jessie Geer with 15 points, five rebounds, five steals and an assist. She hit 7-of-11 field goals and her only three-pointer.

Both Mariah Szymanski and Lauren Sanders provided 11 points. Szymanski, who now has 28 games in double-digit points in her career, hit 2-of-3 from three-point range, added two rebounds and three assists. Sanders, who was making her second start of the season, made 4-of-8 field goals with 3-of-7 from three-point range. She has made two or more triples in four straight games. Also for USF, freshman forward Krystal Carlson had eight points, six rebounds and four steals as she made a second straight start.

USF took control of this game early by rushing to a 14-0 lead and taking a 24-14 lead after the first quarter. In the second stanza, USF outscored UMC, 19-6, for a commanding 43-20 lead at the halftime break. USF put the game away with a 25-11 advantage in the third quarter for a 68-31 lead. While UMC won the final quarter, 16-12, the issue was already decided.

As for the defense, USF held an opponent under 50 points for sixth time this season and the second straight night. USF, which had a 36-to-31 rebound edge, forced UMC into 28 turnovers. As a result, the Cougars had a 26-to-8 margin in pointers off turnovers. The Cougars, which had as much as a 38-point lead (8:17, 4th quarter), held the Golden Eagles to 36.7 percent (18-of-49 from the field) and allowed just 1-of-10 from three-point range. UMC was led in scoring by Kylie Post with 18 points and Isieoma Odor with 15 points.

As for the Cougars, they again found their rhythm on offense as they made 51.6 percent from the field on 32-of-62 shooting from the field. USF, which was 9-of-22 from three-point range, hit 50 percent or better in two of the four quarters. As a result, USF, which had 20 assists on 32 made baskets, have shot 50 percent or better in six of the last eight quarters they have played.

USF jumped to a quick start against UMC as they scored the opening 14 points with Sanders and Hummel knocking in three-point field goals. USF extended the lead to 18-2 at the 4:41 mark following a jumper from Augusta Thramer. UMC responded with a 5-0 run to cut USF's lead to 20-11 at the 1:46 mark. At the end of the quarter, USF, which hit 9-of-14 shots for 64.3 percent, had a 24-14 lead as Geer had eight points and Hummel, seven.

Early in the second quarter, Hummel hit a couple of jumpers, the second off a steal by Geer, as the Cougars built a 28-14 advantage (nine minute mark). Off assist by Anna Goodhope, who had three points, six rebounds and three assists, Sanders knocked in her second three as the Cougars took a 33-16 lead at the six minute mark. With her second three in two minutes, Szymanski provided USF a 41-20 lead (2:11). USF, which was 7-of-15 for 46.7 percent in the second quarter, held UMC to 35 percent shooting (7-of-20) and outrebounded the Golden Eagles, 15-14 in the first two quarters. Hummel had 13 points to lead USF while Szymanski and Geer added six points each. While USF committed just eight turnovers, UMC was forced into 17 turnovers.

The Cougars opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run, including a steal and lay-up, plus a triple from Geer as the lead grew to 52-20 at the 7:55 mark. Later Hummel hit a jumper at the 5:18 mark as the Cougars took a 59-24 advantage. When Sanders hit her third three of the game at the 4:10 mark for a 62-26 lead, the issue was clearly decided. USF took their largest lead of the game with 8:17 to play on Goodhope's three as the margin was at 73-35.

Next for USF will be a road trip to Northern State and Minnesota State Moorhead on Feb. 8-9 in a cross divisional matchup.